Benjamin Rous has been selected as the new associate conductor of the Virginia Symphony. His first assignment here will be conducting the symphony's free outdoor
concerts in August-September.
As associate conductor, he'll be responsible for conducting the symphony pops and family concerts as well as planning and conducting Young People's concerts and other educational and outreach activities.
Rous has served as assistant conductor of the Phoenix Symphony and conductor of the Phoenix Youth Symphony since 2008. Before arriving in Phoenix, he held assistant conducting roles with the St. Louis Symphony and Ensemble Orchestral de Paris.
He earned a bachelor's of music degree from
, where he served as music director of the Bach Society Orchestra, played baroque violin in the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra and conducted his first
performances. He went on to get a master's degree in conducting from the
where he also studied harpsichord and continuo and pursued an interest in dance.
He replaces Matthew Kraemer who left to become associate conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic.
"Hampton: From the Sea to the Stars," a documentary celebrating 400 years of Hampton history, will be shown at 7 p.m. July 8 at
, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton. The event is hosted by the 2010 class of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute. Tickets are $15 available at the theater box office, by calling 722-2787 or online at http://www.hamponarts.net.
Virginia Shakespeare Festival
This summer's Virginia Shakespeare Festival has been pared down to two productions, Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and
's "A Man For All Seasons." The 32nd annual festival will take place July 7 through Aug. 1 in Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall on the
"As You Like It" will open the festival in performances July 7-18. Full of disguises and mis-matched couples, it's the story of Rosalind's attempts to woo Orlando in the Forest of Arden.
"A Man For All Seasons" plays from July 22-Aug. 1. Winner of multiple
on Broadway, the play focuses on the story of Sir Thomas More's opposition to the marriage of Henry VIII to
. The titled role will be played by John Ammerman, who has starred in previous festival productions of "Macbeth" and "The Complete History of America Abridged."
Two-play subscriptions are $40. Single tickets are $25 adults, $15 students and $10 children. They're available by calling the box office at 221-2674 or online at vsf.wm.edu.
The festival also runs three weeks of summer camps for young actors but those sessions are sold out.
The Cultural Alliance of Greater
is seeking nominations for its 2010 Alli Awards.
The awards are handed out each fall to individuals, arts professionals, businesses and media groups that make significant contributions to the region's arts and culture. Two special awards also made are the Bettie Minette Cooper Arts Educator Award and the Vianne B. Webb Lifetime Achievement Award.
Membership in the Cultural Alliance is not required for participation in the nominating process. Nomination forms can be downloaded from the Web site at
you can call the office at 889-9479 and they'll send you one. Deadline for nominations is Sept. 8.
The Alli Awards have been presented since 1987. The 2010 awards will be the last awards event to be held annually. Beginning in 2012, the alliance will begin holding the event in alternate years.
This year's ceremony and reception will take place on the afternoon of Nov. 17 at The American Theatre in Hampton.
WHRO rates 4 stars
WHRO, the region's public broadcasting station, has received a coveted four-star rating for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, the country's leading charity evaluator. The top rating was awarded for the station's ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances and to execute its mission in a fiscally responsible way.
"This is a tremendous honor for WHRO," Schmidt said. "It's a real testament to the excellence and dedication of WHRO's staff and to teamwork."
Youth summer camps
Iron Street Productions community theater organization is sponsoring three, two-week theater camps for kids ages 8-16 this summer. The I.S.P.Y. camps will be held in
Children will participate in theater technique workshops during the day at which they'll be instructed in Theater Basics, Acting Instruction, and introduction to the technical aspects of theatrical production.
The program is designed to interest young people in theatrical production through performance work in an ensemble environment. This workshop will culminate in a public performance of an ArtReach Children's Theatre Production.
Here's the schedule for the three camps. The first one starts Monday so call first to see if spaces are still available.
June 21-July 2. Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center. 2410 Wickham Ave., Newport News. Call 757-247-8950 for details and pricing.
July 5-17. Smithfield Little Theater. 210 North Church St., Smithfield. Registration $50, tuition $150.
August 2-14, 2010.
. 99 Templin Hall, Hampton. Registration $50, tuition $150.
Call 224-8937 or go online to http://www.ironstreetproductions.com.
Summer at the Suffolk Center
The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will present a lineup of summer camps and classes for kids as part of its Summer 2010 programming.
Summer classes are being offered now through Sept. 2. Classes include yoga, dance, exercise, arts and photography. Music lessons will also be offered.
Summer camps include an Arts Sampler Camp, a Circus Camp and a Theater Camp for children ages 7-12.
The five-day Arts Sampler Camp will begin June 28 and will include a workshop with folk artist Kacey Carneal, whose exhibit "A Woman and Her Art" can be seen at the center now through Aug. 27. Program fee for the Arts Sampler Camp is $150, including lunch.
Krendl's Circus Camp begins August 2. The program fee for the five-morning camp is $125.
Theater Camp begins August 16. The program fee for the five-day camp is $150, including lunch.
A Pre-school Playhouse will be offered for children ages 4-5 from Aug. 3- 31. The program fee for the morning playhouse is $25 per day, $40 for two days, or $165 for nine days. Advance registration is required.
In addition, a Youth String Ensemble will be offered for rising 7th – 9th graders, allowing young musicians from Suffolk and the surrounding communities to unite and improve their skills in an ensemble setting. The strings program, which meets at 6: 30 p.m. Tuesdays for 10 weeks, began last week, so call to see if spaces are still available. A concert performance will be held on August 13th.
The center is located at 110 West Finney Avenue in downtown Suffolk. For more information about the Summer 2010 Program, or to register for a class or camp, visit
This August, the
has come up with a great family film series, Sea Monsters at the Mariners'. Four classic "B" sea monster flicks at 7 p.m. Thursday nights will include pre-film commentary from museum staff and local experts.
Here's the lineup:
Aug. 5 — "
Versus the Sea Monster" (1966 film starring Akira Takarada).
Aug. 12 — "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (1953 film starring Paul Christian)
Aug. 19 — "It Came From Beneath the Sea" (1955 film starring Kenneth Tobey and Faith Domergue)
Aug. 26 —
(1981 film starring
, Maggie Smith,
Films will be shown in the Huntington Room, and tickets are $8 ($5 museum members). They'll be free popcorn, with beverages and other snacks available for purchase.
On Saturday Aug. 7, The museum will host a Sea Monster Family Day. Enjoy a day of sea monsters and mermaids at The Mariners' Museum as your family explores the sometimes fun, sometimes scary world under the water. The event is free with museum admission.
Arts giving down
Donations to arts and culture in the U.S. fell 2.4 percent to $12.3 billion in 2009 compared to 2008, according to a report published by the Giving USA Foundation and reported on the
The 2009 figure was less than the 6.4 percent drop to $12.8 billion that occurred from 2007 to 2008, the foundation reported.
Charitable giving to all categories of charities and nonprofits declined 3.6 percent, from $315 billion to $303.6 billion, in 2009, the study said.
Since the U.S. recession began in December 2007, arts and cultural organizations have struggled as many donors and foundations reduced gifts, says Bloomberg. Among the cultural organizations that closed in the past two years were the Las Vegas Art Museum, the
Metropolitan Museum in
and the Milwaukee Shakespeare Co.
David Nicholson can be reached at 247-4794 or by e-mail at